|Thursday, 4 July 2002|
debutant styris the star as Kiwis win Test series
ST GEORGE'S, Grenada, Wednesday (AFP) - New Zealand recorded an historic away series victory over the West Indies here Tuesday after drawing the second Test at Queen's Park.
The Kiwis held out for a draw in the second and final test to win the two-match series 1-0, thanks to rain showers and a match-saving 99 run partnership between test debutant Scott Styris and wicket-keeper Robbie Hart.
New Zealand were 256 for five in their second innings when rain brought play to a close on the fifth and final day to seal the series win on the back of their equally historic 204 run triumph in the first Test in Barbados last week.
Styris followed up his first innings century with a crucial innings of 69 not out, coming in when New Zealand had thrown away three wickets in the first hour of play on Tuesday.
The players were on and off the field several times as the West Indies tried desparately to get the last five New Zealand wickets and have a go at winning the match and levelling the series.
The final day was frustrating for host captain Carl Hooper, whose spinners snatched New Zealand's top five wickets on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, when all hope seemed lost.
West Indies replied to New Zealand's first innings total of 373 - mainly thanks to Styris's 107 - with 470, opener Chris Gayle scoring a mammoth 204.
Hooper, under fire for electing to field on what has turned out to be a low and slow wicket even by Caribbean standards, had been hoping for a first innings lead of at least 150 but had to settle for 97.
On Monday New Zealand openers Lou Vincent and Mark Richardson put on 117 for the first wicket before the West Indies spinners prised their way back into the match with two late wickets, those of Vincent for 54 and captain Stephen Fleming for just five.
Resuming on 139 for two, a lead of just 42, panic set in for the first hour as three wickets fell quickly, leaving New Zealand effectively on 60 for five.
Ironically, the most comfortable-looking batsman, Richardson, was the first to depart, caught behind by Ridley Jacobs off the bowling of leg spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo for 71 to follow up on his first innings 95.
Nathan Astle followed without adding to the score, playing a limp nudge to Wavell Hinds at short leg from Hooper's bowling.
Nine runs later it was Chris Harris's turn as he played an awful sweep shot off Nagamootoo and was caught by Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Styris and Hart joined forces with four fielders clustered around the bat as the West Indies sensed an opening for a victory to level the two-match series.
However the 27-year-old Styris immediately showed his more experienced test colleagues the benefits of positive cricket, playing technically sound strokes and keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
His 50 took eight minutes over two hours and included four fours.
Styris was selected for the test squad after his success in the one-day series, which New Zealand lost 3-1. He scored two half centuries and then set a New Zealand bowling record by taking six for 25 in Trinidad. ==. Hart has also been a batting success story in the West Indies series, scoring 57 and 24 in the first test and 20 in the first innings in Grenada and cementing his position as the team's first-choice wicket-keeper. == At tea, delayed after two separate interruptions because of the rain, New Zealand were 236 for five, 139 runs ahead with five wickets in hand and with only two more hours to play. Only 16 overs were possible in the afternoon session.
After tea, only six overs were possible before more rain fell. Styris enjoyed himself at part-time bowler Ramnaresh Sarwan's expense, hitting for a consecutive six and four.
Styris became only the tenth cricketer and third New Zealander to score a century and a half century on his test debut.
For the icing on the cake, Styris took two wickets for 88 when West Indies batted, including the wicket of Brian Lara.
The timing of New Zealand's tour to the Caribbean coincided with the start of the tropical rainy season on June 1 and was criticised because it was feared too much cricket would be lost to rain.
In fact, only the first one-day international in Jamaica was lost to rain and the Duckworth/Lewis method had to be used in a rain-affected match in Port Of Spain, Trinidad.
Until Tuesday, the rest of the tour had been played in hot, sultry conditions.
Produced by Lake House